Oh, this is such a fitting topic for today. Earlier I talked about my struggle with Fibromyalgia. It is such a misunderstood disease, and only recently has been included in the list of chronic illnesses. I’m still in the camp of people who believe fibro is caused by something else – Lyme Disease, nerve damage, something. Anything other than I just woke up like this one day.
I’m luckier than some with this disease. My doctor was able to diagnose me within about 6 months. Several months after that I called him in tears because I was in so much pain. I wanted anything he could give me to make it stop. He called in a prescription immediately. The first meds he put me on were anti-depressants and a seizure medication. Talk about off-label use! Doctors still don’t know why, but anti-depressants have proven helpful for eliminating fibro pain. The seizure medication works on neurological pathways in the brain (they think) to dull the annoying neuro symptoms like facial twitching, muscle spasms, widespread joint and muscle pain, just to list a few.
The one thing these medications didn’t help was the fatigue. A large portion of fibro patients have problems falling or staying asleep. More than that, the body is constantly in pain, so it is nearly impossible to get a fully restorative night’s sleep. I remember I used to sleep ten hours each night during the week, and twelve or thirteen on the weekends. It didn’t help. I was still unable to hold me head up. I couldn’t think straight, form basic words, or even stay awake. It was a nightmare. I told my doctor, again, that I was ready for something new. There was a new drug on the market, Lyrica – the first to ever be labeled specifically for use with fibro. Of course, insurance fought me at every turn, but my doctor submitted every form they needed and then some. Before long I was shelling out exorbitant amounts of money every month for this amazing new super drug. It truly changed my life.
That was about two years ago. Maybe three. I was stuck on this medication that had so many restrictions. Plus, it was starting to cause me to be just as spaced out and foggy as I was without the meds. It was finally time to give Lyrica the boot. I’ve been slowly weaning myself off of it for about two months. Yeah, that long. Saturday marked the one week anniversary of being Lyrica-free. I’m officially off my meds! Well, I haven’t died yet. The pain is slowly returning. My face twitches like no one’s business, and the creepy-crawly-buzzing sensation is back in full force. So far no ice-pick stabbing sensations – always a bonus. But I’m still determined to do this. I’ve lived with this illness for long enough that I feel confident I can face it on my own (plus with the help of my friends and family, heh). I’ve changed my diet and am slowly getting back to exercise. Crossing my fingers that my body decides to cooperate.